This profession – the search engine optimization business that is – is considered by many to be something of a modern day dark art. We know that most people don’t even come close to knowing what we do to get websites ranked with the search engines and we get all manner of questions from customers and prospective customers, some of which can seem a little silly to the trained ear but all of which are (usually) perfectly valid wonderments, when coming from the layperson.
Some of these questions are asked so often that we thought we might list them here for the greater good of the online community and try to dispel a few SEO myths.
Q1. How many links can you get me for £X
This is a common question. The problem is that there is no easy answer because it is based on the assumption that the more inbound links have, the better your ranking will be. In asking this question however, you are missing a vital word, and that word is ‘quality’.
To ask how many links we can get you in a certain amount of time is almost meaningless because some links would be simple to get but make absolutely no difference to your ranking. Quality links may take a little longer for fewer and asking ‘how many quality links can you create’ is closer to the question that you actually want an answer the answer still wouldn’t give you the whole picture. Link building is relationship building – the better quality the relationship, the better quality the link and sometimes the value is as much in the process of building that link as it is in the result, so if we don’t answer this question with a figure we’re not being evasive, we’re just being honest.
Q2. How many links do I need before we can stop link-building?
As with the previous question, this one is missing a few words. The answer to this question is ‘you can stop any time you like’. What you want to know is
‘How many links do I need before we can stop link-building and continue to remain well ranked?’
Unfortunately we cannot and never will be able to put a figure on that because it’s not about figures. You should, over time and with consistent effort, become recognized as a voice of authority and at that point you may be able to scale back your efforts slightly but we are speaking long-term. In the short term, particularly if you site appears to achieve great success very quickly, the effort must be maintained to prevent drop-off. And if you stop but your competitor doesn’t (and let’s face it, why would they) it won’t take very long for them to overtake you in the ranking.
In short, if you want your site to consistently perform, you can’t stop building quality links. And here’s a question from us,
‘If it’s working for you, why would you want to?’
Q3. How many links will it take me to get to the front page of Google?
We don’t want to sound like a broken record here but, honesty, this question has no definitive answer either; Google is a more complex monster than all that.
You will get to the front page when wise old Google deems you to be ready – in other words, when you have displayed that you are a strong enough authority on a particular set of keywords, to warrant being placed above everyone else that is vying for the position.
If the keywords you are going for are hugely sought after that’s probably going to take a lot of links. If your key phrase is Burton-on-Sea over 60′s tennis club, well then it probably won’t take quite so many (and there may be a bit of a gray area in between).